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Hampshire Life Editor's Note: Pathlight's photo exhibition NEW – GazetteNET

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Published: 9/13/2019 9:37:56 AM

Modified: 9/13/2019 9:37:44 AM

Dear readers,

Sixty-seven years ago, five mothers of young children with developmental disabilities in the Springfield area started the organization now known as Pathlight, a place to support that population into taking the places they deserved in the world at large. It was a departure from the thinking at the time, which favored institutionalizing them.

Today, Pathlight has grown into the vibrant organization it is today, serving all of western Massachusetts and northern Worcester County, providing a wealth of services including skill-building classes, educational advocacy, employment support and home services for children and adults. In some ways, it even goes beyond general education in many places, offering sex education through programs like Whole Selves, which teaches about developing and maintaining healthy relationships.

But while the organization has continued its good work for nearly 70 years, a new photo exhibition highlighted in this issue by writer Luis Fieldman (and featuring our own photo editor Carol Lollis) aims to capture moments in the lives of people served by Pathlight. “This is Me: Portraits of Pathlight” opens today — Friday, Sept. 13 — at the Northampton Center for the Arts at 33 Hawley St., and runs through October.

What a treasure to have this exhibition presented to the community. In contrast to the way in which those with developmental disabilities were separated from their communities through institutionalization, these photos offer up images of them engaged with the larger world. The image in black and white featured on the cover of this week’s Hampshire Life, was called “front page material” by one of the subjects in it, Mikey Acevedo. We agree.

The photos in the exhibit are an excellent way to celebrate the population that Pathlight serves, and they bring the mission and work of Pathlight before more people. Those who continue to make Pathlight a vital part of our western Massachusetts community deserve our thanks, and I’m looking forward to checking out the exhibit myself soon.

— Dave Eisenstadter